A new Consumer Reports test of 284 samples of fresh greens—such as lettuce, spinach, and kale—found six samples tainted with Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly bacteria. The samples were purchased at several grocery store chains including Acme, Costco, Hannaford, and Whole Foods.
Two of these samples were packaged, prewashed greens—a spinach and an organic spinach-spring mix. The other four were loose heads or bunches of green kale, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and spinach.
“While it may not be surprising to find listeria in a small percentage of leafy green products that are tested, it is always concerning to find bacteria that can make people sick in foods that aren’t meant to be cooked,” says Karen Wong, M.D., medical officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch….
All of the greens were purchased between June 3 and June 19, 2019 in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
Of the six samples tainted with Listeria monocytogenes, one had a strain genetically linked to at least two cases of listeriosis (the illness caused by listeria) reported to the CDC. (We do not know if the people who got sick ate leafy greens.) That product was a “triple-washed” Nature’s Place Organic Spinach Spring Mix purchased at a Hannaford supermarket.